Short-term road solutions are also important

February 15, 2013

As outlined in an article and editorial in the Cape Gazette’s Tuesday edition, Delaware’s Department of Transportation is moving ahead with substantial improvements along Route 1 between Five Points and Rehoboth Beach to make the area’s main street safer for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians. With an improving economy and the pace of home building quickening, traffic levels over the next several years will only increase.

Beginning construction on all of the slated improvements sooner as opposed to later will have a double benefit. Construction activity itself calms traffic and makes motorists more alert. And, the sooner work starts, the sooner it will be completed, and all of us will realize the benefits. One serious situation that could use an accelerated construction schedule is the dangerous intersection where Plantation Road, Postal Lane and Cedar Grove Road meet. DelDOT is engineering substantial changes there that will align Postal Lane and Cedar Grove Road to create a true and safer crossroads than the existing offset situation.

That offset combined with increased traffic on Plantation Road as the local alternative to Route 1 creates congestion, confusion and crashes. Just this week, during the quietest time of the year, two cars crashed at the intersection. Fire and rescue personnel had to respond to the scene to extract and provide emergency aid to at least one of the drivers involved. DelDOT plans to spend more than $8 million at the intersection with design work, right-of-way acquisition and engineering already under way. Actual construction isn’t slated to begin until spring 2014.

Significant improvements take time, but waiting until spring 2014 for any efforts to fix an intersection growing more dangerous each day doesn’t make sense. Interim efforts are needed to at least raise more awareness there. Flashing lights and more signage would help and not cost much money. Installing overhead lights, as was recently accomplished by DelDOT at the Cave Neck Road and Route 1 intersection, and painting their standards effectively to also alert motorists to a dicey situation during the day is another thought.

Big solutions are welcome and effective over the long term, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take smaller steps in the interim to protect residents and visitors.

  • Cape Gazette editorials are considered and written by members of the Cape Gazette editorial board which includes Dennis Forney, publisher; Trish Vernon, editor; Dave Frederick, sports editor emeritus; Laura Ritter, news editor; Jen Ellingsworth, associate editor; and Nick Roth, sports editor.